Píobaire, An, Volume 8, Issue 3, Page 9
Na Píobairí Uilleann
ALLYBUNNION CHANTERS FESTIVAL is a
festival of uilleann piping and tradi-
tional singing commemorating the piper
Tom McCarthy, who played for many years on
the Castle Green in Ballybunnion, County
Kerry, until his death in 1904.
It will be held on the weekend of 23-25 No-
vember 2012, and will feature both local and
visiting performers in concerts, workshops, lec-
tures and sessions. There will also be an out-
reach programme for schools in the
Ballybunnion area in the days leading up to the
The festival is unique in exploring the consid-
erable common ground between pipers and
singers: many pipers are either singers them-
selves or have an interest in singing, and the
converse is also true; and many of the airs in
the piping repertoire are derived from classic
traditional songs in Irish and in English.
The festival will be based in The Cliff House
Hotel in Ballybunnion; weekend package rates
will be available. Contact for festival informa-
The “Ballybunnion Piper” Tom McCarthy
area. He was the first Uilleann piper I ever met
and listening to his music set the spark to become
a piper myself. He borrowed me a practice set
and gave me my first lessons. We soon became
close friends, playing together in his private pub,
and later in sessions and band as well. Without
Mario I would not have gotten involved so deeply
with Irish music and the pipes.
In 2002 he got his second full set also made by An-
dreas Rogge, replacing the first one with a honey
colored plum, brass and boxwood mounted set
tuned in D and played it with great joy, inspiration
and excellence. Mario played those pipes in sev-
eral bands, like Extra Stout, Craic and recently
Blue Stone playing at many live events and pro-
ducing several records on his way.
Since 2007 Mario has worked closely with An-
dreas Rogge to move Andreas’s workshop and
home to its new location, leaving many traces of
his excellent woodwork there.
His illness came as a surprise to himself and all of
us and his quick death struck us all heavily.
We sincerely miss Mario and wish him the best
on his way to the eternal session, where we all
hope to meet him again at the end of our earthly
Let’s all lift our glasses to the great piper and
friend we lost and all miss so badly!
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